Marjorie P. Lee meets the needs of residents’ families, too!

Marjorie P. Lee meets the needs of residents’ families, too!

Marjorie P. Lee meets the needs of residents’ families, too!

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When JoAnn Brown was living in Northern Kentucky’s suburban Villa Hills, she had friends, but they weren’t nearby. She had to drive to see them, and her driving on bustling Interstate 75 concerned her family. Limiting her driving would mean that JoAnn might become even more socially isolated.

Her family knew that being alone can increase memory deficits in older adults. Although JoAnn’s family was more than willing to take care of her, her daughter, Dr. Jodi Heekin, is a Northern Kentucky veterinarian who manages her own animal hospital in Taylor Mill, Ky. Jodi wanted to be proactive about making sure JoAnn was in a place where her Mom’s care needs could be addressed as they changed.

Now JoAnn has friends just steps away from her memory care suite in the Marjorie P. Lee retirement community in Cincinnati’s Hyde Park neighborhood. She also made new friends with fellow residents who live in her household and friendly Marjorie P. Lee team members who assist her.

“They're all so sweet,” JoAnn said.


Dr. Jodi Heekin, a Northern Kentucky veterinarian, and her mother, Marjorie P. Lee Memory Care resident JoAnn Brown.

“I think it's wonderful,” JoAnn’s daughter said about Marjorie P. Lee. “I know she's in good hands. The staff members treat her so well. And if she wants to be alone, she can be in her room. If she doesn't, she can participate in the activities.”

Now, Marjorie P. Lee team members provide constant assistance and help with JoAnn’s daily needs, which can weigh on busy adult children like Dr. Heekin over time. When their loved ones are in a memory care household, family members, unburdened by caretaking responsibilities, can enjoy being sons, daughters, or spouses again.

JoAnn and one neighbor get along especially well, JoAnn and Jodi said.

Before JoAnn moved to Marjorie P. Lee in 2023, she was living independently. But besides having to drive on crowded highways, Jodi worried JoAnn was spending too much time alone. She knew that while she was pretty good at taking her own medicine, her memory issues eventually would change that.

“Mom also grew tired of cooking for herself,” Jodi said. “It got to be a bigger and bigger struggle. And so that was a great draw for her to move.” Many families struggle to find high-quality, nutritious food options for seniors living alone in the community. At Marjorie P. Lee, she no longer worries about the cooking. The food is good, she says – especially the pork and the chefs’ interesting recipes.

Mind stimulation in a friendly home

JoAnn was ready to move to a retirement community for a few reasons.

“I like seeing other people. Where I was living, nobody talks to each other,” because it was a suburban neighborhood where people live in individual homes. By contrast, Jodi said, “I was also struck by the warmth of everybody here. The residents know each other. The staff members know the residents personally, addressing residents by name.”

Of the retirement communities the family visited, “nothing compared with this,” Jodi said.

“You could feel that it was a different ambiance than what we felt at some of the other places, which had very nice physical facilities. But they were just missing something,” Jodi added.

The increased socialization is one way JoAnn’s mind benefits from living at the Marjorie P. Lee community. Simply chatting with people during the day significantly benefits the minds and bodies of people who otherwise would be socially isolated. A 2017 study found that having minimal social contact is a greater predictor of death in the United States than smoking 15 cigarettes a day, alcohol consumption, obesity, and air pollution.

Related Blog/Video: Social isolation can be very harmful to older adults' health

The move to Marjorie P. Lee “opened up a new world to her,” Jodi said. “Before the move to MPL, we explored having somebody come and live in her home – there was room. But this gets her out, and more active – more human touch points throughout the day. I think that's just so important.”

Other help for the mind

JoAnn enjoys the SAIDO program at Marjorie P. Lee, which uses simple reading and simple mathematics to stimulate the brain, while also keeping residents in touch with Marjorie P. Lee team members and other residents.

“She loves SAIDO, which allows her to keep her brain functioning better for as long as possible,” Jodi said. “Because we know that Alzheimer's will decline over time, SAIDO empowers her to feel like she's keeping her brain healthy. It's also a good touch point with people who work in other areas of the organization.”

Related blog: Impactful Memory Care: SAIDO Learning® is a hopeful therapy

JoAnn also participates in fitness workouts led by Episcopal Retirement Services Wellness Director Chloe Hough, which pleases Jodi, who says, “Physical activity is important to your physical health, your mental health.”

And with those classes, “She says she’s got fewer problems with her back,” Jodi said.

Providing peace of mind for a resident’s family

Jodi is comforted by the emails and other communications from team members whenever there’s a concern JoAnn’s family should know about. And Marjorie P. Lee is closer to Jodi’s Fort Thomas home than JoAnn’s Villa Hills home.

“I know she's in good hands when she's here,” Jodi said. “It's a big relief not to worry about her being 25 minutes away from me.”

Memory care also provides other safeguards that comfort the loved ones of residents with dementia. For example, residents can wander freely around their memory-care households but are prevented from wandering into the outside world, as some people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia will do.

Unexpected relief, and new family time

Now that JoAnn’s needs now and in the future are in the caring hands of Marjorie Lee, Jodi can focus on being a daughter again. The worry of coordinating services and changing the needs of those who have cognitive loss can be a heavy burden.

“Caregiver stress” applies to people who coordinate care, not just those providing care. Jodi has discovered how a community like Marjorie Lee can help. Oftentimes, families do not realize how worried they have been about their loved ones until their family member moves into a community.

In addition, JoAnn’s living at Marjorie P. Lee has created a surprising benefit for her family. Attending Sunday church services of Father Angelo Puopolo with JoAnn has become a family treat. Jodi enjoys them so much that she attends her own church service, where she sings in the choir, and then at Marjorie P. Lee’s chapel.

“I’ve started participating in the services here along with my 22-year-old son because the time of the service is more convenient for him” than in Fort Thomas. “None of us are morning people, and Father Angelo is amazing. We really enjoy his sermons. And like I said, my 22-year-old son gets to church and see his Nana.”

Marjorie P. Lee is caring for JoAnn’s needs. Friends are close by, allowing for rich social interactions. Meals and medication administration take the burden off families to provide oversight or assistance. Activities such as SAIDO and wellness classes stimulate the mind, body, and soul. Family members, like JoAnn, can enjoy time with their loved ones, knowing that the compassionate and capable staff are there to provide the care.

Learn More About Our Community

Marjorie P. Lee aims to provide the best place for memory care available. If your loved one is in need of person-centered memory support, reach out to us to learn how we can help.

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Mike Rutledge

Mike Rutledge

Mike Rutledge has been Content Marketing Specialist for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS) since early 2022. He writes articles, blogs and other information to inform people about things happening at ERS’ retirement communities of Marjorie P. Lee an... Read More >

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